Connect with us

2025 Subaru Forester Premium – SEE THE FORESTER THROUGH THE TREES

Car Reviews

2025 Subaru Forester Premium – SEE THE FORESTER THROUGH THE TREES

2025 Subaru Forester Premium


VALLEY RANCH, Texas – Battling trucks in both lanes for 160 miles and then bobbing and weaving through the congestion and construction that is Dallas traffic for 30 more would tire most 73-year-old men.

Instead, I learned that the 2025 Subaru Forester Premium can keep one refreshed even after an arduous drive. As I had a couple of hours to spare before a baseball game I traveled to cover (such a hard life), I decided to explore Irving’s Sam Houston Trail Park, one of America’s finest urban green spaces. The car’s comfortable seats, quiet cabin, and advanced driver-assist technology played a significant role in maintaining my energy levels.

I was delighted to have still more than half a tank of fuel remaining. The EPA estimates the Forester will average 29 mpg, but it does not evaluate vehicles on Texas’ rolling raceway interstates, where 80 mph in the fast lane gets you the grille of a pickup or SUV filling the rearview mirror. Despite my heavy right foot, the Subaru averaged better than 27 mpg.

An available hybrid version delivers around 40 mpg. That is a strong selling point with Subaru’s target demographic, which skews outdoorsy.

On the road again

Indeed, after a late dinner spent writing and filing my story, I bought five gallons of fuel as breathing room. Because the Pleasant Grove Hawks were kind enough to win, closing out the best-of-three series in two games, my Saturday was suddenly free. The following day, I used the time and fuel reserve for a quick trip to the Ouachita Mountains, where one can find trails with steep elevations.

For those who enjoy outdoor adventures, the 2025 Subaru Forester Premium is a dependable companion. It effortlessly tackled deep rocky ruts and slippery river fords, proving that it is more than just a compact SUV. The Forester’s X-MODE guided us along a winding route up and through the Saline River Pass to the Tall Peak Fire Tower trailhead.

As I approached the first river ford, I switched the X-MODE to sand and mud, and the car effortlessly navigated the challenging terrain. With its standard symmetrical all-wheel drive, ground clearance like that of a Toyota Tacoma, and all-terrain tires, the car offers more capability than most drivers would ever need.

While I used Apple CarPlay to belt out one of my favorite playlists through an exceptional Harmon-Kardon® sound system, the X-MODE did the work:

  • Throttle: The throttle does not open too quickly. X-Mode delivers torque gradually at first but then makes it come on stronger.
  • Transmission: The transmission stays in a lower gear for greater torque, the force used in acceleration and climbing. 
  • All-Wheel Drive: Control gains come from raising the front/rear coupling force when X-Mode is on, which distributes power more evenly between the four wheels, maximizing tire traction.
  • Vehicle Dynamics Control System: If two wheels behave differently, the system applies brakes to the slipping wheel. 
  • Hill Descent Control: Under 12 mph, Hill Descent Control maintains vehicle speed. The car manages the throttle and braking, allowing the driver to concentrate on steering.

Not entirely ‘all-new’

Starting at $31,090 delivered, Subaru says the 2025 Forester is an “all-new” sixth generation of a model first introduced in the U.S. in 1997. On close examination, it seems more of a smartly engineered and well-crafted upgrade to the fifth generation that hit these shores in 2018.

Our tester was a Premium trim line, one step above the basic model. It came with a highly desirable $1,200 option package that included a power rear gate, blind-spot detection, and rear cross-traffic alert, and it had a sticker price of $34,590. 

I lived the Subie life that week. Of those options, the one I used most was the liftgate, which allowed me to retrieve trekking poles, an ammo belt with canteen and snacks, a camera, bug spray…

The 2025 model rides on the same Subaru Global Platform and derives its power from the same driveline as its predecessor. The anchor is Subie’s bullet-proof, 2.5-liter flat-four engine, only slightly modified from the prior version. New sheet metal has better aerodynamics and a sleek, contemporary design while retaining trademark rugged looks.

The new Forester features a dual-pinion electronic power steering rack, like the one found in the Subaru WRX. This provides a more direct and responsive steering feel, improving handling and driver confidence. Ride and handling also benefit from improved structural strength, increasing the chassis’ torsional rigidity by 10%.

As advanced driver assistance systems go, Subaru’s EyeSight® is one of the better. 

Thanks to a wider field of view, updated control software, and the addition of an electric brake booster, it operates more smoothly and quickly and under a greater range of conditions than prior versions. 

EyeSight can identify cyclists and pedestrians at intersections sooner and, when necessary, alert the driver and apply braking to avoid collisions. Additional active safety features available include Reverse Automatic Braking, Blind-Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.

Drivers need to be aware that this is not an autonomous driving system. When engaged, the system will maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead and assist with keeping the vehicle in its lane. However, if you take your hands off the wheel, warning lights flash, sounds blare, and a duck drops down from the roof to tell you to put your dang hands on the wheel. 

OK, I made up the duck.

Emergency Stop Assist activates if the driver becomes unresponsive to warnings while using Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control. The new standard safety feature will stop the vehicle, activate the hazard lights, and unlock the doors. The car will then call emergency services.

It is the journey

I parked at the trailhead and began a 2.3-mile hike that increased in elevation by 1,500 feet en route to a stone tower built 90 years ago by the Civilian Conservation Corps. At 3,200 feet above sea level, it is the highest point between eastern Arkansas and central Mexico. Spectacular views of the gateway to the Great Plains await the few willing to make the trek.

In the 90-minute trudge to the top, I saw one bear, a clutch of deer, and no people. On this trail, the pattern was set early: come around a bend and see a steep hill leading to another bend in the road. Reach that bend and repeat.

Forced rests were blessings. Stripped barren in another century by rapacious loggers who left behind a sprinkling of poplars, oak, elm, and dogwood that today blanket it. The rock-strewn mountain is quiet in its majesty.

I halted my steps and calmed my breathing. In the quiet, I heard so much: birds, ground creatures, and silent, crisp breezes sweeping up the valley.

Red-tailed hawks glided silently on the thermals as the wind’s crescendos built and fell like waves on a shore. I calmed my mind and heard exponentially more. Like the multitudes of thoughts that continuously cascade across our consciousness, the sounds have a beginning, a middle, and an end. At this very moment, my soul sang, was this day’s bread.

The summit offered more reward than the effort it took to reach it.

The walk back down the mountain was much easier and quicker. Still, the hike had consumed the better part of the afternoon. Emerging from the wilderness, I chose to head back via an old state highway that wound through the foothills, with sharp curves and narrow bridges.

Traffic was nonexistent, so I picked up my pace. This led to another felicitous discovery. Longer coil springs and shock absorbers provide added road clearance and give the Forester exceptional handling. For an SUV, it has excellent stick in tight turns. 

The 2.5-liter flat four might seem underpowered at 180 hp and 1778  lb.-ft. of torque, but the little SUV is quick in the right ways. Acceleration is brisk and smooth.

As I headed into the sunset, I thought that this day was as close as any to perfection.

In four decades of journalism, Bill Owney has picked up awards for his coverage of everything from murders to the NFL to state and local government. He added the automotive world to his portfolio in the mid '90s.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Car Reviews

Looking for local events?
Check out our Event Calendar!

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting content and updates from TXGARAGE to your email inbox.

epidemic sound affiliate link

Soundtrack like a pro, without breaking the bank.

To Top